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Timothy Castagne to Leicester: Alex McLeish on breakthrough at Genk | Soccer Information

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Timothy Castagne’s journey from Genk to Leicester Metropolis

Leicester supporters had been understandably perturbed that the membership’s solely signing previous to the primary sport of the Premier League season had come at full-back. However Timothy Castagne’s debut has already alleviated a few of these considerations with a man-of-the-match efficiency within the 3-Zero win away to West Brom. The Belgian newcomer even scored the opening purpose.

A visit to The Hawthorns had seemed like a probably tough fixture for a crew recent from the frustration of lacking out on Champions League soccer. Leicester had not received away from house within the Premier League since New 12 months’s Day. And but, that they had far an excessive amount of for the Baggies with Castagne’s assured show bringing some lengthy overdue optimism.

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Leicester’s Premier League win over West Brom

FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Leicester’s Premier League win over West Brom

It was not simply the followers feeling gleeful within the wake of his debut. Castagne additionally obtained a textual content message from his previous coach, the person who gave him his skilled debut as a 17-year-old hopeful at Genk, lengthy earlier than he received admirers as a part of that adventurous Atalanta facet.

He’s a coach well-known to British soccer – former Scotland supervisor Alex McLeish.

“I messaged him to say I’m very happy with him,” McLeish tells Sky Sports activities.

“He’s simply going from energy to energy.”

McLeish is talking within the rapid aftermath of Castagne’s debut having already shared a short phone name with the participant’s ecstatic consultant reminiscing on the journey that has taken him all the best way to the Premier League.

It’s truthful to say McLeish has adopted the journey carefully – even recommending him to Bournemouth final season just for the deal to not come off. He appears genuinely thrilled that Castagne’s alternative in England has belatedly come his manner.

3:45
Brendan Rodgers speaks to Sky Sports activities following Leicester’s win over West Brom

Brendan Rodgers speaks to Sky Sports activities following Leicester’s win over West Brom

McLeish’s season at Genk isn’t the very first thing that springs to thoughts in a profession that introduced European glory as a participant at Aberdeen and league titles as a supervisor with Rangers. However he has fond reminiscences of working with a lot younger expertise there again in 2014/15.

“It has been the story of my life,” he says, laughing. “The primary phrases from the board had been one thing like, ‘You have no cash to spend however are you able to get us up the league?’ It was a transition season for Genk, however I wished to work with younger gamers.

“We had been struggling to maintain up with the Joneses – Anderlecht and Membership Brugge – so we felt that if we may carry children by means of then the subsequent 12 months we might be stronger.”

With no funds obtainable, McLeish would spend his Monday evenings in Belgium alongside his assistant Alex Rae watching the academy gamers in motion for Genk’s reserve facet.

One participant particularly stood out from the remaining.

“This boy was higher than the participant we had within the crew,” he says of seeing Castagne in motion for the primary time. “We put him in and he performed the entire bloody season.”

A powerful begin helped. The West Brom sport was not the primary spectacular debut of Castagne’s profession. His skilled bow towards Membership Brugge in September 2014 was simply as promising.

“It was my opening sport with Genk and we performed a very good crew who went on to prime the desk that 12 months. They’d a proper good fast crew however Timo got here in and simply performed like a veteran. He most likely performed by means of the adrenaline {that a} child has on debut – it simply costs you. We drew 1-1 every and Timo had a debut to be happy with.”

Castagne made a swift impression after earning his chance at Genk

Castagne made a swift impression after incomes his probability at Genk

Belgium’s prime flight was an enormous step up for Castagne, not least as a result of his time in Genk’s famed academy had been temporary. This can be a membership with a observe report for creating expertise – Kevin De Bruyne went on to take the crew to the title after becoming a member of on the age of 14. However Castagne had been a late arrival on the academy, as former coach Hans Visser explains.

“He had been taking part in at Virton in Wallonia,” Visser tells Sky Sports activities.

“He got here to us very late at Genk on the age of 17 so he lacked a little bit little bit of technical expertise within the passing and the management. Usually, gamers arrive at Genk when they’re between the age of seven and 10 so by the point that they arrive within the first crew they’ve all the abilities already realized. Timothy was completely different. He lacked a little bit little bit of that.

“However a variety of his potential lay in his working capacity and his bodily capability. He had a variety of attacking menace in behind the opponent. That was his nice high quality.

“He needed to study a little bit bit his positional sport and work on some passing drills. He was not so good at this at first however after a while he picked it up in a short time. He was very enthusiastic. He wished to study. After each coaching session as soon as we had been accomplished, he wished to do one thing additional in order that he may decide up on what he had missed.”

Castagne impressed everyone at Genk from the start with his athleticism

Castagne impressed everybody at Genk from the beginning together with his athleticism

Dimitri De Conde, Genk’s sporting director, claims that Castagne got here out on prime in all of the bodily exams and McLeish confirms that it was this athleticism that set him aside.

“We noticed unbelievable urge for food and unbelievable stamina for a youngster,” he remembers.

“He was a really, very athletic younger man.”

The sight of a young person blowing away extra skilled team-mates on the bleep take a look at is one factor however Genk wanted him to have the ability to play too. That is the place the work went in.

“Alex Rae and I did a variety of afternoon stuff with the youthful gamers,” says McLeish.

“Mainly, what we labored on was that if he was getting in good ahead areas we might search for him to place in a ball with a little bit of buy, not only a flighted cross into the field.

“If he noticed the striker transferring behind the centre-half within the field, could possibly be enhance his accuracy? That’s what we labored on. Not simply crosses however deeper passes.

“Timo perfected the whole lot.”

For McLeish, it was a pleasure to see his progress.

“I actually have a love of seeing younger gamers breaking by means of – and breaking by means of with the standard and magnificence that Timo Castagne has proven,” he provides.

“It’s a thrill to work with the youthful ones. They do not have all of the solutions. It’s like being a instructor. You attempt to impart a bit of data. That was the great thing about working with Genk.”

Castagne in action for Genk alongside Leicester colleague Wilfred Ndidi

Castagne in motion for Genk alongside Leicester colleague Wilfred Ndidi

Castagne was not alone. In actual fact, half of Leicester’s again 4 on the opening weekend of the Premier League season was product of former Genk children.

McLeish gave them each their debuts.

“Within the October, we had been at risk of shedding a younger signing so the chief scout alerted me to him. I mentioned I might discuss to the board and I noticed a wee video of him. He had sure qualities and you would all the time hone the abilities later. So £100,000 later we had purchased Wilfred Ndidi.”

Castagne's heat map on debut for Leicester against West Brom

Castagne’s warmth map on debut for Leicester towards West Brom

The 2 males lined up subsequent to one another on the appropriate facet of Leicester’s defence at West Brom. That was one thing of a shock on condition that Castagne is able to working at left-back and will but be pressed into motion there upon Ricardo Pereira’s return from harm.

“He’s not a pure left-footer however he can play wherever,” says McLeish. “He’s versatile and he can work with each ft. He performed towards Scotland once I was in cost and he was up and down that proper facet within the wing-back system that Roberto Martinez likes to play there.”

Visser believes that wing-back position, one which Castagne made his personal with Atalanta, is healthier suited to the participant’s skills than being restricted in a again 4.

“Within the Belgium crew, he can go and play very offensive,” says Visser. “He’s all the time coated behind him by a central defender. However that may be an issue for him when the crew performs with 4 defenders and he goes out whereas the left winger of the opponent stays up.

“His predominant qualities are offensive.”

Castagne celebrates after scoring for Leicester on his debut

Castagne celebrates after scoring for Leicester on his debut

Leicester supporters have had a glimpse of that high quality already after such an encouraging debut – and the sensation is that this was simply the beginning. His previous coach can be watching.

“To see him taking part in within the Premier League is kind of a thrill,” provides McLeish. “He’s at an age now the place the value tag and the expectations are excessive, however he’s nonetheless a child. There’s a variety of soccer in that younger man that the Leicester followers are going to like.”

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